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Why Lawyers Could Be the Future of Prompt Engineering?

The AI landscape is both a challenge and an opportunity. Goldman Sachs predicts that AI could displace around 300 million jobs, causing many to worry about automation. However, as these concerns grow, AI is also creating new roles. 'Prompt Engineering' is a top new profession in this area. Lawyers, with their sharp analysis and clear language skills, seem perfectly suited for it.

Before we begin, let me explain why I'm focusing on lawyers: In some of my previous roles, I've served as a legal counsel and lawyer. While numerous professionals can excel in the AI era, my choice to spotlight lawyers, in this edition, stems from my intimate experience with the legal world and its latent potential in the AI domain.

Understanding Prompt Engineering

The art and science of prompt engineering involves designing, testing, and refining prompts to elicit specific responses from AI models, especially those based on large language models, such as OpenAI's GPT series. In the age of AI integration, how we communicate with these models becomes increasingly critical. A well-crafted prompt can mean the difference between an AI response that is useful and one that is nonsensical.

Consider this: a generic query like “10-day trip to Vietnam” yields broad results. But factor in specifics, like your kids' ages or preferred activities, and you’ll get a tailored itinerary. The difference? A well-crafted prompt.

Example of basic prompt and its result (ChatGPT-4):

Here is the advanced prompt:

Prompt Engineering is Booming ($)

The rise of Prompt Engineering has caught the attention. Companies, seeing the unique combination of skills it requires, are offering impressive paychecks. For example, ANTHROP\C recently listed a job for a “Prompt Engineer & Librarian” with a salary range of $250K-$375K a year. Notably, they mentioned that a tech degree isn't always necessary, showing that language and thinking skills can sometimes outweigh traditional tech training. This change is a big deal, and it means even those without a tech background might find a high-paying job in this area. Plus, with a growing marketplace for prompts, creative minds have a chance to earn from their custom-made prompts!

Key Skills for Prompt Engineers – Where Language Meets Technology

Andrej Karpathy, the former AI head at Tesla, said in a tweet, "The future of coding is all about knowing English well."

Being a prompt engineer isn't solely about AI mastery. It's a blend of:

  1. Clear Language Use: Understanding the small details of language helps in making sure AI gives the right answers. Good language skills help in creating prompts that get clear results.

  2. Basics of AI: Knowing the main ideas behind how AI works is very important. This understanding helps make better prompts that fit well with how AI thinks.

  3. Domain Expertise: Being an expert in a specific area makes prompts even better, especially when questions are about a certain topic. This deep knowledge gets results that general knowledge might miss.

  4. Thinking Ahead: Guessing the kinds of questions users might ask is key. This way, the prompts we make are always useful to the user.

Lawyers - Natural Future Experts in Prompt Engineering

Legal professionals have a lot of skills that are great for prompt engineering:

  1. Clear Language: Lawyers are writing legal papers that need to be very clear. This skill is similar to making detailed prompts where every word can change the AI’s answer.

  2. Deep Analysis: Lawyers often look closely at complicated situations to find important information. This skill is very useful when trying to understand the answers that AI gives.

  3. Strong Ethics: As we use AI more and more, we have to make sure it's used in the right way and get responsible AI's responses. Lawyers can make sure AI is properly used.

  4. Effective Communication: Lawyers excel in conveying complex ideas in understandable ways. This communication skill is vital in shaping prompts that are both intricate and user-friendly.

  5. Patience and Adaptability: Legal processes often involve revisions and reconsiderations. This patience, combined with a willingness to adapt, makes lawyers naturally suited for the iterative nature of refining AI prompts.

Building Prompt Engineering Skills

The professional tapestry of lawyers is already woven with threads of precise language, analytical thinking, and meticulous attention to detail. However, to transition into prompt engineering, some skills and knowledge need to be added:

  1. AI Conceptualization: Beyond the traditional legalese, it's crucial to gain a deeper understanding of AI's underlying principles. This isn't about coding (however coding is a great added value) but understanding the rationale of AI's responses. By knowing why an AI model reacts a certain way, lawyers can craft prompts that align more closely with desired outcomes.

  2. Introduction to Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI's capability to process language isn't akin to human comprehension. NLP delves into the machine's methodology of understanding language. For lawyers, gaining a knowledge in NLP can be a bridge, connecting their linguistic prowess with AI’s computational interpretation.

  3. Data Analytics: Once a prompt is set into motion, the feedback loop is continuous. Lawyers can utilize data analytics to dissect and assess the quality of AI's responses. This iterative analysis allows for prompt optimization, ensuring that AI consistently meets the required objective.

The Future of Prompt Engineering

The long-term role of prompt engineers remains a topic of debate. Ethan Mollick, a professor at Wharton, expressed skepticism in a tweet: "I suspect 'prompt engineering' may not be a significant long-term role." Furthermore, in an interview, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman shared a similar sentiment with Sam Altman, opining that prompt engineering might have a limited lifespan. My Take:

The debate around the longevity of prompt engineering is nuanced and complex. With the AI development, there are a few potential scenarios we could envisage:

  1. Evolution: The role of prompt engineers may not disappear but instead evolve. As AI systems become more sophisticated, there may be a reduced need for manual prompting. However, experts with a deep understanding of AI-human interaction principles will always be invaluable. They might pivot from crafting prompts to fine-tuning AI-human conversational dynamics or overseeing the ethical ramifications of AI responses.

  2. Integration with Other Disciplines: The skills of a prompt engineer could merge with other professions. For example, UI/UX designers might take on aspects of prompt engineering to refine AI user experiences, or content creators might use prompt engineering techniques to collaborate better with AI content generators.

  3. Continuous Specialization: As AI models diversify and specialize, there might arise a need for prompt engineers who specialize in niche sectors. A one-size-fits-all approach could become obsolete, necessitating prompt specialists for domains like healthcare, law, entertainment, and more.

  4. Foundational Role: Even if the direct role of a prompt engineer diminishes, the skills and knowledge they possess will likely underpin several emerging AI professions. Understanding the intricacies of AI language models will be a foundational skill much like how basic coding or digital literacy is today.

The melding of legal acumen with AI's capabilities, particularly in prompt engineering, signals a pivotal moment. Lawyers, traditionally armed with analytical finesse, now find themselves with the chance to redefine AI's linguistic interactions. It's about shaping the future of AI communications. Let's thrive, Inbal Israeli Gaffa Co-Founder & CEO InBe Tech

Further reading/watching:

  1. Goldman Sachs Predicts 300 Million Jobs Will Be Lost Or Degraded By Artificial Intelligence - Article, Report

  2. What is prompt engineering - article by Zapier

  3. Legal innovation and generative AI: Lawyers emerging as ‘pilots,’ content creators, and legal designers - by Mckinsey

  4. Over half of young lawyers considering quitting by 2027

  5. AI 'prompt engineer' jobs can pay up to $375,000 a year and don't always require a background in tech

  6. 'Prompt engineering' is one of the hottest jobs in generative AI. Here's how it works.

  7. 5 skills needed to become a prompt engineer

  8. AI Prompt Engineering Isn’t the Future - Harvard Business Review

  9. [Watch] OpenAI CEO Sam Altman | AI for the Next Era - Youtube

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